5 Questions with an Email Expert: Courtney DeCosimo of ICF Olson

In our series, 5 Questions with an Email Expert, we chat with leaders in the email marketing space about their background, favorite email campaigns, and more.

In this edition of 5 Questions with an Email Expert, we chatted with Courtney DeCosimo, Senior Account Manager at ICF Olson.

What was your path to email?

For over two years, I worked for a global technology company in sales. Every day, I used email to communicate for two reasons: 1) internally for client requests and pricing and 2) with clients to summarize decisions and next steps which was integral when my clients were in another province and time zone within Canada.

With my transition from sales to marketing last year, the way I use email transitioned too. As a Senior Account Manager, responsible for three clients within North America, email became not only a way I could communicate with my clients but also a way my clients interacted with their customers. The world of email marketing became an opportunity to help clients foster that line of communication.

Why do you believe in email?

Email has been and continues to be one of the main forms of digital communication. Although direct communications technologies continue to evolve, email remains as an always-accessible channel at the fingertips of the customer, client, and colleague. It’s incredibly versatile.

Email is also a necessary bridge between the company and audience. Beyond communication, it acts as a means of closing the loop on transactions and security; it expands its functionality to receipts, password resets and much more, which are provided only by email in the digital world.

What’s the most innovative thing happening in email right now?

I think that one of the most innovative things happening in email marketing would be new and creative ways to personalize. A tool like Movable Ink does a great job of this. It allows the email to connect with the user on an emotional level, making it that much more relevant and, hopefully, actionable.

Another up-and-coming innovation is interactive emails – a functionality that used to be impossible in most email clients is starting to be be more universally accepted and used in regular email marketing campaigns. It brings frontend development into the email to allow for more creativity within an email like a moveable photo gallery.

As a Senior Account Manager, what are the most common email challenges you’ve seen recently? Do you have any tips for overcoming these challenges?

One of the most common challenges with emails is truly capturing your respective audiences’ attention. They may get the email and they may even open it, but that doesn’t mean they are engaging with it and acting on it. How do we make those open rates better and ensure the customer is actually reading and taking action on the email in the way we want them to?

What brands are sending the best emails? Name one of the most delightful/surprising emails you’ve seen recently.

Choosing one is tricky because different brands should be highlighted for different reasons. Here are the top three that come to my mind and the respective reasons why:

1. Spotify Year End – their ability to provide a recap of your year from their perspective displayed in a clean, creative manner
2. Action Rocket – their ability to deliver experimental email techniques, like a responsive template design
3. Mail Chimp Marketing – their approach to marketing and the engaging, humorous copy used within the body of an email